International Olympic Committee chairman John Coates Photo: REUTERS file
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IOC apologizes for abrupt plan to move Tokyo Olympic races; Sapporo mayor not notified

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Good on the IOC - if they hadn't made the call, no spineless bureaucrat would have. It's not just athletics but lives, both of athletes and spectators, that are at stake here.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

I guess they don't want people dying. This proves Tokyo was a mistake. They should have bribed for an October start

19 ( +19 / -0 )

And here I was, hoping that by escaping to Sapporo next summer, I would escape the Olympic madness in Tokyo....

16 ( +18 / -2 )

The IOC didn't even check with him? Wow, that's some level of entitlement.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

That press conference last night must have been hilarious.

Reporter - What are your thoughts on the Olympics coming to Sapporo?

Sapporo Mayor - Don't you mean the Tokyo Olympics?

Reporter - No. Sapporo.

Mayor - Looks at his aide and asks. What are they talking about?

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Reading between the lines it seems that the IOC have lost patience with the organizing committee’s lack of action and willingness to make decisions and have decided to step in and do it themselves.

All that palaver about testing mist machines etc., changing the starting time, requesting that ground floor shops keep their doors open to allow air con to flow outside. This decision should’ve been made months ago.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Bet the people with tickets to those events are going to be overjoyed...

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The Japan Olympics.

first Rugby World Cup with cancelled matches due to weather events during typhoon season,

It was a super-typhoon, strongest since 1958, and in October (not July, August or September) so I personally think that goes down in the simple anomaly category. Had it been a garden variety (smaller) typhoon, the matches could perhaps have been played somehow.

Running marathons in August however, it's pretty much guaranteed to be really hot, and really humid, every year.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

All bets are off now, multiple events can be put elsewhere. The sailing was another wasn't it?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This was the only logical solution to ensure a safe marathon. The triathlon too should be moved.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

great, now move all the events, and the whole of olympics to hokkaido and be done with this nonse

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I'm really enjoying the wonderful comments here. They're all spot on.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I am flabbergasted that its took so long to move theses events to Sapporo, If I remember rightly, wasn't it a topic brought up by us posters some time ago with the same concern about the heat, and what a daft idea it was? now they have moved, how on earth does the mayor of Sapporo organise it, extra busses, trains, hotels, staff, etc, road closures, police and medical staff to cope with the extra influx of people, this should have been foreseen and planned years ago! what about the hotels that are/were booked up in Tokyo, they are going to be shall we say annoyed, a large amount of people who booked early, will now be canceling, this is possibly lost revenue for the hotels. the other thought is people will have booked flights to Tokyo airports, which they have budgeted for, NOW they have got to pay for a train journey to Sapporo! which is a extra cost, also if they have paid for a hotel in Tokyo, some might get a refund or if they got it cheap, quiet often its non refundable, are they going to be compensated?? Its a good idea to change events, but at this late stage? its just a shambles its a mess that could have been avoided!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Cheaper to move it to Sapporo than install all that summer snow making nonsense and resurfacing all the roads to reflect heat etc.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Wow, such fun.

IOC: We are changing plans and adapting to help save the athletes and spectators some heat stroke. It's called adapting to the situation when necessary.

Japan: Adapting? Never heard of it, is that a new concept?

Changing plans? Was there a meeting about it? I don't remember contemplating it for months and then just hoping the problem would just disappear.

IOC: We make the rules, not you.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Good job Japan!

That is not the Japan and JOC on this one. It is the IOC. The IOC made the rules, Japan wanted the games so they go for "no problem", the IOC didn't bother double check neither was willing to make adjustment till now. So if you want to put blame you can not put it only on Japan for these games.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Abe: "We will provide the most cost-effective, technological, and compact Games in history!"

Guess not. So, now, how are they going to repay the people who have already taken time off and booked transportation and hotels? What about the people who booked tickets at the stadium for the final lap of the track at the end of the event? Look, it's going to be a matter of life and death, so moving it to a cooler area is common sense, but then why have it in Japan in mid-summer at all? They're suddenly acting like they came up with the idea that people might suffer heatstroke if they do it in Tokyo, where it's been warned bout and ignored since the bid. How about the other events? Not just the marathon that requires pushing it in the heat.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I hope the Mayor of Sapporo tells the IOC to GET STUFFED!!!!

Not a bad idea. Conversely, I think he should agree, provided the city gets a big wad of cash, say 250 million USD up front in its coffers. This assumes Sapporo is not liable for one yen in security costs, accommodation costs, transportation costs, electricity/communication costs, and facility costs.

This is only partly in jest.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wasn't the whole point, the reason for this charade to boost Fucashima? It does seem unseemly to now change everything on the weather that was a give in, . It's hot and humid to the point of discomfort going to the toilet let alone running outside. I could have called it years ago as many have yet we don't receive massive compensation for being right. It really sucks when after More than 5 years of common sense suddenly those in power decide to sheepishly float the idea. We have had such brilliant ideas Aircons on full blast doors open, roads sprayed with sludge to absorbe heat. Corrupt idiots grasping for straws. Next no marathon a mad scramble to make a human pyramid.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The key promise of Tokyo's bidding was to deliver "compact games" with 85% of venues in an 8-km city center radius.

So we went from "we are doing everything in an 8-km radius" to "we are doing the marathon and race walks on a totally different island 830 km air travel distance away from Tokyo" Good job Japan!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

This realistically means everything else on in Sapporo at the same time will have to be cancelled. Baseball games, soccer games, conferences, trade shows, etc. There are only nine months to go, and all of those things will have been planned as normal. Sapporo is a city of what? 2 million? and there will always be plenty on in the summer. If the Olympics are coming, there will also be a mad scramble for accommodation.

Given the security needs and the volunteers they'll have to get together and train, this sounds like a nightmare for the city's planners. I hope they are going to charge big for it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

JenniSchiebel: "Why on earth didn't they schedule the 2020 Games for October as well???"

That's easy -- ratings, and money. Let me give you an example. A friend of mine had a bit of a conundrum on the 6th of this month. He fell in love with rugby long ago -- when Japan started winning at the start of this tournament -- and has been a fan since. However, he also loves Hanshin Tigers when they win. The 7:00 p.m. game against Samoa started at the same time as the Hanshin Tigers game, and he did not know what he should watch, to the point where he had a stomach ache. Now that is only for fans of rugby, bandwagon or not. Imagine the Olympics, which many, MANY more people tune in to and show up for, interfering with the climax and then Japan world series ratings. In short, the NPB would not allow it and demanded it be moved to summer (Koshien be darned!). Added to this was pressure from American broadcasters. Now, that means money.

Why on earth did the IOC agree to it? Once again, money.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Like many have said, October should be the time for Japan olympics. When normal people get sick and die from heat in August, it seems foolish to continue to keep summer olympics that time of year. Japan is not Greece.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I was a huge mistake giving the SUMMER games to Japan. I said that right from the start when they were awarded to Tokyo, on this site and got nothing but negative comments back, saying I was being negative. I know what a summer in Tokyo feels like and I would never want to compete in any outdoor events. Don't start moving event's all over Japan, change the Date to the fall like the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

And I guess it's not "Tokyo 2020" anymore. It's "Tokyo, Hokkaido, Areas Affected by 3/11 To Show Off Reconstruction, and Soon-to-be-announced Other Areas 20/20"

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Glad to learn the IOC is stream lining to other regions of the nation. This potentially should boost the economy in areas of need. Hokkaido has been ignored for quite some time by the bureaucrats in Tokyo. Kudos for IOC and Sapporo.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

even the mayor didn,t know about it . . . hah

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why he said it now?! He should have said it many years ago. It should be 2020 Sapporo Summer Olympics.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

apologized to 2020 Games organizers for the abrupt announcement that it plans to move the marathon and race walks to Sapporo, 

You can apologize for selling the Olympics to a Japan that is unable to deal with the Rugby cup. The weather conditions have been known for decades and they have no solution.

If someone has common sense, move the whole game-circus to another country or to another month (you know Japan has 4 seasons...).

It will be hot, but these are Olympic athletes, not grandma and grandpa trying to stay fit. 

Ignorant statement probably from a person that never runs nor walks. The athletes risk death as much as if they were targets of terrorism.The recent Doha competition was a scandalous mess. They postponed the marathon till midnight, but even, they had 32 degrees and 70% humidity (unlikely in Japan ? ) Half of the women runner felt too sick to finish (all top athletes). And well, there, they had no spectators, but in Japan, they will also have to deal with scores of heatstroke in people that will try to come watch. Do you remember grandpa Gebrselassie ? He's an expert and he's from a hot place :

"It was a mistake to conduct the championship in such hot weather in Doha, especially the marathon race. As someone who has been in the sport for many years, I've found it unacceptable," former marathon world-record holder Gebrselassie

It's even worse for distance swimmers as they can't just stop on the side of the road. Too many top athletes already died of heat exertion during competitions.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It will be hot, but these are Olympic athletes, not grandma and grandpa trying to stay fit. Let them run.

I often hike during hot months of summer. I'm put to shame on more occasions than I care to recount by grandpas blazing straight up steep mountainsides at paces that would put even young athletes to the test. Don't disparage the grandpas.

It's precisely because these are Olympic athletes, trying to push their bodies to the extremes (faster, higher, stronger), that the heat is so dangerous. In normal conditions, top endurance athletes pace themselves just short of collapsing. When they try to keep to the paces at which they've trained in abnormally hot conditions, their bodies predictably collapse. Doha finally painted a vivid enough picture of what happens that the IOC decided to act. The choices were to move the date to October (impossible because of TV conflicts and conflicts with pro sports), move some events to Hokkaido, or press ahead with dangerous Tokyo heat. When Doha ruled out Tokyo in August as an option, moving endurance events to Hokkaido was the only option left.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are only certain flights and trains to move people 830km north and back.

There are plenty of trains and flights to/from Sapporo to Tokyo. This won't be an issue.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I guess they don't want people dying. This proves Tokyo was a mistake. They should have bribed for an October start

Too right.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To Ah_So, have you ever done a triathlon? 1.5 k swim in warm water, a 40k hot bike and then a hot 10k on hot roads. When they tried to do a test race in Tokyo this summer they turned the race into a sprint, 1/2 distance even then some of the athletes suffered with the heat.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Lagune is right. The IOC seems to have stepped in because Tokyo 2020 was not closing on the issue in a timely manner. I can imagine the Tokyo 2020 delegates were locked in indecision because they couldn’t achieve consensus (the Achilles heel of Japanese management). The IOC essentially overrode Japan and made the decision for them, before it was too late. Before Japan takes on hosting such a major event, it needs decisive decision makers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What a farce.

After the first Rugby World Cup with cancelled matches due to weather events during typhoon season, are we going to see the marathon, the final and one of the most anticipated events before closing ceremony of the Olympics, moved hundreds of Km north to avoid heat strokes during the midst of tropical heatwave season?

It will be one of the worst Olympics in recent memory, if not ever.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

 So if you want to put blame you can not put it only on Japan for these games.

I will surely do that boy! Japan is the sole responsible for this mess by having literally lied during the Olympic bidding. The Japanese lied to get the games by promising things that any rational person with a minimum of competence would have called BS. They knew that it won't be possible to have the game within the radius they defined (it was already proven false even before the IOC decides to move the races to Sapporo), they knew about the weather conditions in summer, they knew that the original figures for the cost of the games were a load of BS. They lied and used false statements by purpose in order to get the games and just thought they could go away with it as they often do in Japan. Apparently they even maybe bribed some people to get the games. But the reality came back and now they have to face their shameful lies.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

I hope the Mayor of Sapporo tells the IOC to GET STUFFED!!!!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

They lied and used false statements by purpose in order to get the games and just thought they could go away with it as they often do in Japan. Apparently they even maybe bribed some people to get the games. But the reality came back and now they have to face their shameful lies.

And the IOC was not able to see throught a so obvious lie ? They never set foot in Japan in summer nor any of the people they know ? Never opened a tourist guide ? Never heard of Wikipedia ? And were not the one accepting the bribe (assuming that the bribing happened, do not know how is the investigation going on this one) ?

Japan official and the JOC did what they did. But that do not wash away what the IOC did.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It will be one of the worst Olympics in recent memory, if not ever.

Berlin Olympics run by Hitler, Munich Olympics where 11 Israeli athletes were brutally murdered, Korea Olympics where the boxing judges were bribed by Korean officials and doves were burned alive on live TV, the Atlanta Olympics with horrible heat and a bomb.....

No, I doubt these will be the worst Olympics ever. It will be hot, but these are Olympic athletes, not grandma and grandpa trying to stay fit. Let them run.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I wonder how the meeting with the Sapporo mayor went down

"Errrr..... okay?"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, about time something good is finally coming of this issue.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It was a smart move to make. But it appears that the original sales point of the 2020 Olympics - that they would be held in a small contained area, has been entirely blown up with a nuclear missile. The only way Sapporo is close to Tokyo is if you zoom waaaaaay out on a map.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

HJSLLS: "Lagune is right. The IOC seems to have stepped in because Tokyo 2020 was not closing on the issue in a timely manner. I can imagine the Tokyo 2020 delegates were locked in indecision because they couldn’t achieve consensus (the Achilles heel of Japanese management). "

I'd go a step further. They were probably sitting in a circle, dead silent and praying to all the gods that might or might not exist that we're just lucky and it's unrealistically cool next year. There is no way there were even discussing it... they were probably forming panels to think about what to discuss.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gnome, Alaska is even cooler that time in summer...Just in case IOC is listening.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The 1964 Games in Tokyo were held from Oct. 10 to Oct. 24 -- precisely to avoid the midsummer heat & humidity, plus to avoid the typhoon season.

Why on earth didn't they schedule the 2020 Games for October as well???

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Seems Japan’s losing more and more respect.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The only way Sapporo is close to Tokyo is if you zoom waaaaaay out on a map.

Or, if you're from a country as large or larger than the state of Montana. Everything is relative.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Always easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I bet Tokyo Governor Koike is furious about this, not having been informed about it in advance. Especially since the marathon is the one event that really takes runners (and TV viewers) through the city’s best spots.

Actually, it’s a kick in the teeth for a lot of people. Think of the several hundred volunteers assigned to the marathon who stand along the route handing out water, etc. They’ll be heartbroken. And the officials at the starting and end points.

Can they recruit enough volunteers in Sapporo for these races? I doubt it.

And what about the runners, their support staff, IOC and JOC officials, not to mention TV media? We’re talking about more than 1,000 people. Does Sapporo have enough hotels for such an influx?

It’s also a kick in the teeth for the runners because it robs them of the triumph of running into the main stadium for the finale and then receiving their medals before the closing ceremony. What are they going to do? Fly them back to Tokyo right after the race so they can receive their medals at the New National Stadium?

Personally, I think marathon runners can handle the heat of Tokyo. And as for spectators, well, they'll stand along the route for about half an hour until all the runners have gone past their particular spot, and then leave.

I would hate to the liaison people for the IOC, JOC, Tokyo metropolitan and Sapporo governments who will have to work out all these details.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Contrary to its carefully crafted limber image that it likes to present to the world, the deferral of the coronation parade to a Sunday in November, and now the IOC’s abrupt slap in the face announcement portend that Abe is losing the Mandate of Heaven and that his days are numbered. At least I like to think so.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

IOC is a private association that involves profits to them and lot of loses to the site cities, many of them still have problems, cities of many sport venues and no access after the Olympics...Why IOC has the principal motto to say a city as venue of many sports? Who is getting the profits and who has the loses, very simple answer for that. I only support Olympic games when the athletes has their advantages to compete and show the quality of each sport or competition to the world. I'm much fan to the world cups of many sports than Olympic games of significance to participate.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That is not the Japan and JOC on this one. It is the IOC.

This is correct.

The Japanese lied to get the games by promising things that any rational person with a minimum of competence would have called BS.

This is also correct. The IOC demanded that Japan lie to them. The IOC accepted that lie. The intrinsic problems of holding an Olympics in a tropical climate were well known to all, lets not kid ourselves of that.

It will be one of the worst Olympics in recent memory, if not ever.

I think it's going to be be amazing, I think it's going to be really be a carnival of fun, and I think it's gonna change Japan. But yeah, it's gonna be hotter than the sun.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Soon as Japan was picked the IOC should have proposed to change the date right there and then. Weather is unpredictable and the world has had unusual drastic climate change most recently,

I have been in Tokyo in July a few times. The hotest for me was 1995. But in 2010 and 2014, I was surprised it was not as hot as I was expecting it to be. But with everything that has happened this year, I hope is an anomaly. And next year would be better.

It would be a chaotic change if they move the event. I am sure hotels have been booked in Tokyo and around ahead of schedule. To change hotel accommodations could be costly for those without travel insurance.

There are only certain flights and trains to move people 830km north and back. It would probably be better to provide a solution in cooling the runway the athletes are using. Maybe drones with air conditioning capability flying above the path?? Or pipes with cooling air? Or run it in the evening instead of the morning? It should be at least 6 degrees cooler in the evening if that is what they want.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's always fun to see the usual people blaming everything on Japan. This way you are avoiding to see the full picture about the farse that international sport events are. I can imagine how amazing FIFA world cup in Qatar will be...In structures built basically by slaves, and everyone knows it.

The fact is there's almost no Country that wants to host these events anymore, waste of money for fake games.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The heat would be the same for every runner. Its called pacing. If they run too hard for the conditions or fail to take on enough fluids, they will suffer and record a slower time.

Unnecessary decision to move the race.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

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